It was 3 p.m. in Upper Darby Township, and the high school had just let its nearly 4,000 students onto its densely populated, rowhouse streets. This is a rough neighborhood that borders West Philadelphia, Pa. CityData.com shows that Upper Darby’s crime rate far exceeds even nearby areas of the “City of Brotherly Love.” Police know this is a critical time to be visible, so according to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, there are always at least a half dozen police officers patrolling Upper Darby when school lets out. Nevertheless, on Feb. 5 it wasn’t enough.
Reports came in that in three locations in Upper Darby fights had broken out on the streets. The biggest fight was not far from the high school. Forty or more people had circled around two combatants.“He had the gun in his hand, but he didn’t point it at the kids, he just told them to back off,” Chitwood said. “If this guy didn’t come out and come to the aid of the officer, this officer would have had significant problems.”
An officer jumped out of his patrol car and ran right into the middle of the fight. He grabbed one of the combatants. But then, instead of running away, the other person in the fight attacked the officer.
“As he breaks up the fight, he takes one kid and then the other jumps [on] him. Now he’s fighting two of them and he’s calling for an assist officer at the same time,” Chitwood told Phily.com.
But the officer didn’t just have to contend with the two fighting. Right away the mob of 40 or 50 watching the fight began to get aggressive.
That was when a good guy with a handgun ran out of his nearby residence. He yelled for the teens to get away from the cop.
“He had the gun in his hand, but he didn’t point it at the kids, he just told them to back off,” Chitwood said. “If this guy didn’t come out and come to the aid of the officer, this officer would have had significant problems.”
The good guy with a gun has a concealed-carry permit. He kept the group of teens away from the officer until other officers made it to the scene.
The officer who jumped into the melee ended up with “significant hand injuries,” but he is alive. Another responding cop would get an injury to his leg when he was kicked by one of the attackers. It was that close to being a story of another cop killed.
Nevertheless, many in the media didn’t report that the escalating situation was stopped by an armed citizen. Few have even bothered to ask what would have happened if this citizen were prevented from utilizing his constitutional right to bear arms.
Just a few weeks before, on Jan. 16 in Bastrop, Texas, an armed citizen stopped a man from shooting an officer with his own gun.
A man was attacking Bastrop Police Officer Dylan Dorris outside a gas station. The bad guy had gotten his hands on the officer’s gun.
Officer Dorris told the Statesman: “I remember thinking, ‘Stay in the fight. Just keep fighting, keep fighting. Do whatever you can do, just stay alive, you need to go home.’”
Luckily, an armed citizen named Scott Perkins saw the fight. He drew his self-defense handgun and didn’t hesitate. He moved in and leveled it at the attacker while shouting, “Freeze!”
The suspect ran.“I’m alive today because of [Perkins],” Dorris later said. “There are no words to explain it. He’s such an outstanding citizen. He’s here for our country, our community and you really feel the love.”
“I’m alive today because of [Perkins],” Dorris later said. “There are no words to explain it. He’s such an outstanding citizen. He’s here for our country, our community and you really feel the love.”
The suspect, Kenton Desean Fryer of Arkansas, was quickly caught and arrested. At press time he had been charged with aggravated assault of a public servant, taking an officer’s weapon, evading arrest and driving while under the influence with a child under 15.
Both of these stories made local headlines but were largely dismissed by the so-called “mainstream” media—likely because they don’t fit the narrative they like to sell. This lack of honesty from the media is further troubling because, since Jan. 1, 2016, 10 officers have already lost their lives in the line of duty in the United States. If not for these good citizens, it might have been a dozen already. (It is worth going to the Officer Down Memorial Page to read their stories.)
The number of officers killed in the line of duty has actually fallen since reaching 215 in both 1978 and 1979. In 2014 it was 117 and in 2013 it was 107. Of course, even one is far too many, but why has it fallen and how can we push it even lower?
John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, notes that part of the reason for this drop is the growth of concealed-carry laws across the U.S. from the 1980s to today. Also, research by David Mustard of the University of Georgia also attributes part of the drop in murders of our finest to the increase in concealed-carry laws.
Certainly, this is why, according to PoliceOne, 91 percent of officers say they “support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or have not been deemed psychologically incapable.”
What the two examples above and these statistics show is we are all in this together. When average, law-abiding Americans can be a part of the solution, we have a safer, freer and better society.